Some time in January, a strange ‘crime’ took place on the streets of Chicago. At roughly 2 am in subzero temperature, a man was randomly and viciously attacked with a rope by two white men wearing MAGA hats. The victim claimed that the two men shouted racist and homosexual slur at him such as ‘This is MAGA country’, before proceeding to tie a noose around his neck and cover him in an unknown liquid presumed to be bleach. The victim, none other than C-list celebrity Jussie Smollett of Fox drama Empire, came forward with the alleged hate crime publicly some weeks ago and the story was as expected widely covered in the mainstream media and gained the sympathy of celebrities, talk show hosts and politicians alike who used the opportunity to condemn the racist nature which they perceive to be perpetuated by Trump. However, the story seemed off from the very get-go. Why would two masked men wandering around in the middle of the night be randomly equipped with bleach and a rope conveniently fashioned into a noose and why on earth would these alleged Trump supporters recognize Smollett; a gay actor from an all-black soap opera? How many Trump supporters really watch black soap operas these days and would recognize its stars? The explanation for this would come some weeks later when the Chicago police discovered that the attack turned out to be a hoax staged by none other than Jussie Smollett himself to boost his own career.
Details trickled out from the Chicago PD investigation that established how Jussie Smollett orchestrated the whole attack. Chicago police reported that while they were initially treating it as a potential hate crime but in the weeks following the story, evidence has pointed to the fact that it was a staged attack. Smollett claimed he was attacked by two masked men outside the Loews hotel in Chicago but police have been unable to find surveillance video of the attack even though it was situated in a highly populated area with plenty of cameras nearby. Police did, however, manage to arrest two Nigerian men the week after Smollett came forward with his story; two brothers who were later confirmed to have known Smollett prior to the accident and to be his gym buddies. When the brothers were questioned by police, they admitted that Jussie paid them $4000 to stage the assault and lie about it.
Beyond the terrifying hypocrisy and absurdity of this whole story, is how far Smollett went publicly to promote his own victimhood. In his first televised interview reporting his account of the attack he painted himself as a victim of racism and hate, ate up all the sympathy from the public, made plenty of influential celebrities and public officials look stupid and passionately told his tale of said fictional ordeal. (Profiting from it too, I’m sure.)
He was always a very vocal detractor of Trump’s America and galvanized the moment following his attack to pit the two sides against each other further. Just like the incident with the Covington boys, mainstream media jumped to cover the story and ran with it without doing their due diligence. Once it became clear that the boys were, in fact, the victims and not the perpetrators, and that the Native American who at that point had won the hearts of most liberal leftists in the country, was, in fact, a serial liar who had pulled this type of fake race crime before – the story just disappeared. There was no public acknowledgment of the media’s failure to accurately report an incident where they had outright pushed a falsified narrative and there won’t be one now. The ironic truth is that media will happily report any story when it’s controversial and can be leveraged against the current administration but once the script gets flipped and it turns out the assault was only a fraud, all you hear from the media is crickets.
Racial violence is very real and very important and false accusations like the one made by Smollett only undermine the legitimacy of real race-related hate crimes. When you need to falsify a story to serve your cause, you are doing a disservice to your cause. It also doesn’t help that official politicians running for office such as Kamala Harris wants to use the story to make her own political agenda with this tweet about modern-day lynching. This was a disgusting act in the name of PR from a self-serving semi-relevant actor and I do not put it past Smollett to have done this to support the anti-lynching legislation his friends Kamala Harris and Corey Brooker are trying to get passed.
He tried to garner pity and political support for his friends as well as boost his own career and in the end, it backfired. May there be justice in the end after all.